May 23, 1921 (Norwich, CT) – December 7, 1941; 20 years old
Father listed at 16 St. Regis Avenue, Norwich
Enlisted on October 16, 1939
Service number 2072034
USS ARIZONA (BB-39)
Received the Purple Heart Medal. In the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor.
Letter home from Harry “Bud” Carlson to his brother Ray. Letter contributed on August 30, 2020 by Rosalyn Lachapelle, niece to Harry Carlson.
October 17, 1941~~Dear Ray, Tho it has been some time since you last wrote, it was good to hear from you. If you think finding time to write, etc., is difficult for you, picture my plight. Of course, I understand that you have social obligations & that does occupy a lot of time. As for me, while here in the islands, I very seldom go ashore, obtaining my entertainment from the nightly movies, books, & letters. I can honestly state that in the interval we’ve been here, about nine or ten months, excluding our two weeks in Long Beach, I haven`t been ashore more then fifteen or twenty liberties. Pretty boresome, what!!! The grand shore sides experienced in the states more then make up for these monotonous months of Hawaii. I’ve plenty to tell you in regard to those days, but they`ll wait till I see you. I guess you would be surprised at the change in me, & I see things quite differently from my civilian days. Physically, I haven`t noticed much change. At one time I weighed a hundred seventy-five, but my in activity as an office man & the excessive heat have dwindled me down to the one sixties. As soon as I make 2nd class, I’m going to concentrate on bringing my health up to par. Yes, I heard about your new occupation. It is a greater asset to better health & I can well understand your preference for it. Look, Ray, I’m not built for lectures, but if you like your job, stick with it, & try hard for promotion. Don`t be content to remain a laborer but rather strive for a foreman job. Work hard, keep your nose clean, & try to understand the principles of the gang’s activity. Promotions are a bug with all of us sailors. We know we can get them if we stay with it. Remember I started my naval career with the rate of apprentice seaman ($21.00), became seaman 2/6 (?my note, not sure what that is) automatically in four months ($36.00) in ten months, was seaman 1/6 ($54.00) & six months later SK3/6 ($60.00) & eligible for SK2/6 ($72.00 plus a $35.00 rental allowance in the event I marry). You see how they tantalize us with promise of promotion & spur us on. Well, I hope you have better luck with the hunting then you did with the fishing. I sure would like to go tramping thru the woods with you with a wary eye cocked for game. I was a surprise to hear of Francis Cole’s marriage, & I expect quite a few of my friends will have been married by the time I get home. Looks like I won’t be acquainted with any single girls. When does Langlois expect to tie the marital knot with Helen? I don’t remember the girls you mentioned. I’m a great one to forget names. Sure, I’d be glad to drop them a line. You’ve neglected, however, to tell me their address. Send it next letter if you can get it. So Chet is home for good now! I’d like to see the old boy again. He was my best pal for skipping school with. By the by, are the lads as girl shy as ever?? Ask them to drop me a line occasionally & I promise to answer immediately. If none of those cusses want to write, I’ll be mighty close with my liquor on seeing them again. Hey, how are you doing with those new neighbors Mother mentioned so long ago?? Are they good looking?? Built??? Write me more often, Ray, & I’ll scare up an old liberty to relay to you. I’m smothered in unanswered mail now so I haven’t the time to tell any this letter. Until I hear from you then.
The Kid brother, Bud
P.S. Love to the family!!
P.P.S Yesterday was my 2nd anniversary in the Navy.
Harry Ludwig “Bud” Carlson’s father served in the Navy during World War I and he wanted to follow in his footsteps. Bud graduated from Norwich Free Academy in Connecticut in 1939 and enlisted that October. His dream had been to attend the Naval Academy, his niece Rosalyn Carlson LaChapelle said. Born in Norwich to Cornelius Eskil Carlson, a streetcar conductor, and Agnes Myesky Carlson, a homemaker. Bud’s brother, Raymond, served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. Source: Special thanks to Bobbie Jo Carter, University of Arizona for the contribution
USS Arizona Memorial
Memorialized Courts of the Missing, Court 5, Honolulu Memorial, 2177 Puowaina Drive, Hawaii